Decades-old Tex-Mex chain Guapo’s is going the modern route at its ninth area location, pivoting from the brand’s signature worn-in pueblo design at its new super sleek Georgetown waterfront location.
Guapo’s (3050 K Street NW), scheduled to open for lunch and dinner service on Monday, August 27, tapped boutique Georgetown design firm Ernesto Santalla to completely transform the space from its former life as nautically-inspired bar Orange Anchor into a contemporary Mexican restaurant complete with smooth industrial flooring, laser-like linear lighting, and bright pops of red and orange. Along with a 100-seat dining area and 16-seat central bar, guests can saddle up to a 40-seat outdoor patio boasting prime views of the Potomac River.
Guapo’s menu is also getting a makeover and sprinkling in Colombian flavors as part of a plan to tease out its new Latin American restaurant arriving in D.C. next year.
“We aren’t messing with the fact it’s Tex Mex but we are bringing [in] Latin American dishes,” Jorge Figueredo, director of operations of Guapo’s Restaurants, told Eater last month. “It’s a new chapter for us. Hopefully the D.C. scene will welcome it.”
Guapo’s recently recruited fresh meat to shake up the kitchen: co-executive chefs Nathan Breedlove — an alum of José Andrés’ Thinkfoodgroup family of restaurants as well as 14th Street destination Le Diplomate — and Sergio Galindo, who’s studied Latin American cuisine and cooked in New York under Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Another new hire is Mexican pastry chef Elissa Reyna. Stay tuned for more intel on the new menu, which will bring tortas, more ceviches, and beef tongue tacos into the mix. Most dishes range from $8 to $30.
The new Guapo’s is especially symbolic for the brand; Georgetown was a dream location for late founder Hector Rincón, a Colombian native who opened the first Guapo’s nearly 30 years ago in Tenleytown. Some elements of existing Guapo’s restaurants can be spotted throughout the space, like an ancient Mayan calendar welcoming diners upon entry.
Scroll on for a look inside Georgetown’s newest entrant: